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Royal

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And there it was, the first CD from a Norwegian band (I hardly knew) called Royal, lying on the doormat waiting to be discovered. To be covered by me. Featuring heavy guitars blended with the emotive and passionate vocals, this girl fronted band took me by surprise. I wrote to the band and had thus an interview that's worth checking out.

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Interview with: Emil Nikolaisen, guitarist en vocals

Date: 27th July 1998

Where: Interview through correspondence, date refers date on post stamp.

Other bandmembers: Elvira Nikolaisen (vocals), Remi Christiansen (guitars), Tommy Akerholdt (drums) and Oystein Aase (bass)

Band's Hometown: Oslo, Norway

Discography: My Dear (1998)

Contact Address: c/o Soulscape Records, see Links section

Interview by MPO (some parts have been published previously in the Belgian magazine Solar System)

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Can you tell me about the history of Royal?

Royal was born two years ago. My sister, Elvira, my brother, Ivar and I have played and sung together since we were small. Dad's been a music teacher for years. So, we grew up with music. Different music orchestras came to be Royal in the fall of 1996. Our background made us sound like we do today: Having been part of musical stuff like everything from folk to punk, blues, some classical, jazz and bossanova, rock and even death metal! Finally, we have a pretty stable and permanent line-up. Tommy and Remi used to be in a punkmetalrock band called S.A.F.D. and joined early 1997. That's how it all came together.

How is it to be signed to Soulscape?

Soulscape is a young, quite small, but a good label. They're very serious and professional at what they're doing. The people behind the label have, because of their previous work in the general music scene in Scandinavia and over the world, lots of interesting contacts and connections. We were pretty excited about it. Much better than eventually sign to a bigger label and might not get any artistic freedom. To tell you the truth we have had a few interests from 'bigger' labels, but we're just not a 'major label band', at least not when 'they' want to have us sound, look and act a certain way.

You released through Soulscape a Seven Inch and the full length album "My Dear". How is the feedback so far?

The Seventh Inch is not yet! Terrible delay!! We might record new versions of the b-sides....The response so far has been good. Very interesting! First of all, people in the Christian society are very different. It's exciting to present music people label as "a little bit different". We knew how certain people would react. We're not a band which intentions are to make stuff everybody has heard before. We don't want to make the new big thing sound. It's got to be timeless! Neither is it meant to be for the cool, understanding indie or whatever people. Some comments have been uplifting, though. People who have heard lots of music, well experienced people have given us very encouraging feedback. It's cool to have more kinds of people liking it...punkrockers, pop, rock and even metalguys...even though they usually don't listen to this kind of music. They might just like it because they're friends of ours (laughs).

I heard that you get airplay on the national radio in Sweden. Can you tell me about that?

Yes. This is some of the coolest things so far. We got airplay in the coolest rock programs in both Sweden and Norwegian radio, weeks in row! Musikjournalen-rock, Sweden's biggest rock-program elected "My Dear" as a CD release of the week. Such a privilege to be on the same list as bands like Sonic Youth, Shellac and Refused. What a blessing!

I also heard a rumor you got signed with Tooth & Nail. Is that true?

Yep. Soulscape actually signed a license deal a few days ago, after months of negotiating.

How is the scene in Scandinavia?

The secular scene is big here. Especially Swedish hardcore is famous! The Christian scene is still small but growing. But we don't want to divide. Of course the Christians, as people and as bandmembers, really want to be an important part of the general market. The Christian tradition here is you have your own safe church room, with your own people, your own music. This is not the way it should be! As soon as we stick our head out we realize it's a different world. Staying in our safe little environment seems so much comfortable. Jesus went out and talked to people. He spent time among all kinds of people. And, I think that's a big challenge for us, too, being part of the secular scene. People here are more picky. 'Christian music' to them equals boring, copies of it's secular original. We think it's changing. But we still got to learn. We just had a festival here with more than thirty bands from Scandinavia (Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark) playing. It shows a growing scene, diversity, better quality. It had everything from hardcore, punk, pop, rock, metal, house and even classical music. Very inspiring. We believe in what we're doing, Europeans! We don't want to be copies! We should be proud of some of what we have, too! We shouldn't always depend on American stuff!  We can still be a part of the influence!

What would you like to achieve with Royal in the near future?

Composing, explore new musical areas!! Grow as a band. As friends. Maybe record the new material early next year. Share our music with other people. Come to know new people. Being there with people. If we can inspire, we're thankful. If we can give someone a glimpse of Jesus, we're not less thankful.

Any last comment?

Honoring God is being honest in all you do! We don't care what Christians say. Let's give all praise and glory to the Creator of all creativity! We're all created unique! Jesus alive in you! Jesus alive in me! We would love to see you sometime! And thanks for covering our so called noise art. Rock & Roll!

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